NAIROBI, Kenya- Mathare United FC took a major leap towards maintaining their SportPesa Premier League (SPL) status after edging relegated Muhoroni Youth FC 2-1 on Saturday at the Ruaraka Stadium.
Cliff Nyakeya was the hero for the Slum Boys as his second half goal ensured they bagged maximum points. Edward Seda had opened the scoring at the brink of half time before John Mwangi restored parity shortly after the restart.
The win takes them to 13th place with 38 points, five clear of the relegation zone.
Francis Kimanzi’s charges came into this match with a spring in their step following their 2-1 win against Nzoia Sugar that gave them a real chance of survival. Muhoroni Youth, on the other hand, only had pride to play for after suffering a heavy 7-0 defeat at the hands of Kariobangi Sharks that confirmed their relegation.
After a cagey first ten minutes the tie finally came to life in the 13th minute when Jacobs Faina lost the ball at the edge of the box. Chris Ochieng’ grasped the opportunity with both hands, dribbled into the area before powering a rasping drive that missed the target narrowly.
Bliss Kityo then found himself on the end of a great passing maneuver on the other end but his shot went awfully wide as both sides settled into the game.
A scrappy period of play ensued thereafter with the wet surface slowing down the tempo of the game before Ochieng’ brought the game back to life at the half hour mark. John Mwangi dispossessed Faina, skittered into the box where he slide a pass behind Edward Seda. Ochieng’ however kept the chance alive with a low cross across the face of goal that was cleared for a fruitless corner.
Ochieng again asked questions of rookie Muhoroni goalkeeper Said Said with a low drive from the left but he went full stretch to get his fingertips on the ball. The pressure from the men in yellow finally burst Muhoroni’s bubble a minute to the break.
Cliff Nyakeya showed great bravery to slide a pass towards Seda through a forest of legs in the area and the Seda repaid his hard work with a sweeping finish past Said to ensure Mathare headed into the break leading.
James Omondi’s charges returned a different side after the half time team talk and it was no surprise when they levelled the scores six minutes after the restart. Maxwell Onyango capitalized on a defensive lapse in the Mathare box to slot past Mark Kioko.
Their joy was short lived as Mathare United went further ahead through Cliff Nyakeya. It was a sweeping team move that always looked likely to end with the ball in the net once Chrispin Oduor initiated it at the middle of the park.
A lovely diagonal found Mwangi in acres of space on the left. With a clever dummy he made light work of Fred Indimuli before stepping into the box where he picked out Nyakeya with a low cross at the back post. The youngster kept his cool to tap into the bottom right corner.
The tie crumbled into a tactical affair thereafter with Kimanzi introducing Elijah Mwanzia to boost his attack. Omondi replied sending Farouk Mudola into the fray.
However Mathare held their guns with the introduction of Andrew Juma galvanizing their defence to ensure they protected their slim lead.